Rosa's Garden Notes

I'm inspired by Esther again, she's just writing about her garden, IRL, without any smoke or mirrors or cleverness. (Although her cleverness is inherent in everything she does.)
At the end of day I am left with nary a post left in me, totally tired and good for not much more than a book or a Netflix session. So it means that I am writing very little and I find myself feeling sort of dumb and mute as a result. It's not as if there isn't anything happening that is blog-worthy, I've got writing material in spades, it's just been hard to write it all down. So here is my quick, 10 minutes of bare bones writing, Esther-style.
Our Garden, 15 Forest
Our garden has got that early summer look about it, which means flowers, and lots of kiddie toys littered throughout. It's not hot enough yet for us to have to cower inside, and the flowers still have a fighting chance with our sandy (read: thirsty) soil and watering restrictions. The grass wants cutting, and there are lots of seedlings that are quietly giving up the ghost in the cold frame, but for the most part I am pleased.
The Abbey Garden, 350 Mission 
The Abbey Garden is looking well these days, and this where I've been spending a lot of my time. It's interesting, gardening in such a public setting, with people who for the most part really enjoy the garden, but have little clue about its design or theme. I get a lot of good feedback when I'm out gardening, and the courtyard has been full of people hanging out in the sun, or relaxing beneath the elder branches. I took a video of it, on our little Flip camera, and once I figure out how to upload it to Blogger, you can see it too.
I went to a staff meeting for the Abbey baristas a few weeks ago and got to formally introduce them to the garden. We were out there sniffing the lemon verbena and stroking the lamb's ear, talking about the proper techniques for watering. To be honest, I felt full of artificial bonhomie and a brave face. I definitely put on a show, and it felt like I came off sort of wacky. Not myself! But at least the staff know who I am now, and are not looking at me sideways when I come in to borrow scissors, with leaves in my hair and dirt on my chin.
There's a new website in the works for the Abbey too, and I'll be writing the content for the garden page. I've recruited Stepkas for the photography, so that means it will be class.
To tell the truth, I've figured out that I am lonely in this garden. It's been a work of collaboration from the beginning, and the other designers have had to step out for various reasons. So it's just me. As far as the actual work goes, it's not a lot, and now that the baristas are doing the watering, my time spent in the garden is even less. It's more the feeling of working together, and bouncing ideas off each other that I miss. I keep referring to myself in the plural, as in "the Abbey Gardeners" or "we want to put in raspberries", not quite the 'royal we', more of a way to help myself keep a little 'umble. And also as a little prayer each time I say it. ("Let it be so!")  The thing that keeps me going is that I can tell that God has let me feel this lack, so that when He meets this need I will be able to recognize it, and thank Him for it.

1 comment:

Esther Montgomery said...

I see the parallels!

I'm wondering whether the lack-of-company issue in the Abbey gardens might be addressed by having occasional plantings rather than regular help. Make it an event. Get people to bring a share-it picnic and put out annuals in the spring and bulbs in the autumn.

Maybe children could start seeds at home, then you could have a children's planting hour too when they could bring their young plants and put them in the earth of the Abbey gardens as a kind of offering.

Would ideas like that work?


P.S. When I was a child, we used to create an Easter scene at our church. There would be a mound of stones and earth with the empty crosses on the top and an empty tomb cut into it below. We'd bring primroses and other flowers to plant on and round it. They were massively out of scale with the scene but we appreciated doing it. It was a kind of parallel with the crib at Christmas.


Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.